1.) White House reporters ask first truly tough questions in two years — Pres. Obama was inaugurated two years ago today, which means it only took the White House Press Corp members one year, 11 months, and 29 days to find their spines. “Could you explain to the American people how the United States could be so allied with a country that is known for treating its people so poorly, using censorship and force to oppress its people?” asked AP reporter Ben Feller. He then turned to China’s Hu Jintao and asked, “How do you justify China’s record and do you think that’s any of the business of the American people?” When a mixup with the translator prevented Hu from hearing Feller’s question, Bloomberg’s Hans Nichols used his turn to ask Feller’s question again. But no amount of tough questioning could force either Obama or Hu to answer honestly. And in front of God and everyone, the 2009 Nobel Prize winner claimed that the country which is keeping the 2010 Nobel Prize winner under house arrest has made “enormous progress” on human rights which has been “widely recognized in the world.” The ensuing cognitive dissonance threw the Washington Post for a spin. Both headlines appeared in this morning’s paper: “President Obama makes Hu Jintao look good on rights”; “Obama presses Chinese leader on rights.”
2.) Dems demonstrate commitment to civility by comparing opponents to Nazis — “Only 12 days after lawmakers from both sides of the aisle called for ‘civility’ and a ‘new tone’ in response to the shooting in Tucson, Arizona that severely injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and killed six others, Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen has resorted back to using Nazi comparisons to describe his political opponents,” reports The Daily Caller’s Chris Moody. Cohen decided to break out the tired Nazi comparison not because Republicans have begun gassing hundreds of thousands of innocent people, or because they invaded the Rhineland, but because House Republicans called Obamacare exactly what it is. “They say it’s a government takeover of health care, a big lie just like Goebbels,” Cohen said yesterday. “You say it enough, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, and eventually, people believe it. Like blood libel. That’s the same kind of thing, blood libel. That’s the same kind of thing.” What I want to know: Is Cohen’s use of the term “blood libel” the “same kind of thing” as Palin’s use of the term “blood libel”? If so, is he going to be dragged through the mud for it?
3.) House conservatives know what they want to cut — Conservatives will probably find much to love in Rep. Jim Jordan proposal for cutting $2.5 trillion in federal spending over 10 years. According to TheDC’s Jon Ward, “Jordan’s ‘Spending Reduction Act’ would eliminate such things as the U.S. Agency for International Development and its $1.39 billion annual budget, the $445 million annual subsidy for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the $1.5 billion annual subsidy for Amtrak, $2.5 billion in high speed rail grants, the $150 million subsidy for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and it would cut in half to $7.5 billion the federal travel budget.” But that’s only $330 billion! Where will the rest come from? “The bulk of the cuts would come from returning non-defense discretionary spending – which is currently $670 billion out of a $3.8 trillion budget for the 2011 fiscal year – to the 2006 level of $496.7 billion, through 2021.” That whole “GOP establishment-vs-actual small government proponents” matchup you heard so much about in November? This is it.
4.) Obama earns big concession from Hu Jintao — What can you demand of a country that owns your debt? Not much, apparently. According to a transcript from last night’s state dinner, the biggest concession Obama wrangled from Hu Jintao will have little effect on America’s economy: “The Chinese and American people work together and create new opportunities together every single day. Mr. President, today we’ve shown that our governments can work together as well, for our mutual benefit,” Obama said. “And that includes this bit of news -— under a new agreement, our National Zoo will continue to dazzle children and visitors with the beloved giant pandas.”
5.) Further evidence White House is run by economic illiterates — The Obama White House really wants to fix the economy, but can’t stop bickering internally long enough to do anything, reports the New York Times’ Peter Baker in an lengthy Beltway navel-gazer. The key points, courtesy of the Business Insider: “Obama is currently frustrated that none of his advisors can come up with sizzling, exciting economic ideas that are cheap enough to get Congress to go along with them”; “Never having managed an economy in any way before, Obama thought he could take on everything at once”; “Larry Summers clashed with Christina Romer. Larry Summers clashed with Peter Orszag (over the deficit; Summers doesn’t care about it).” Hope and change, folks. Hope and change.
6.) Wal-Mart earns Michelle Obama’s anti-fat blessing — “Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest retailer, will announce a five-year plan on Thursday to make thousands of its packaged foods lower in unhealthy salts, fats and sugars, and to drop prices on fruits and vegetables,” reports the New York Times. “The initiative came out of discussions the company has been having with Michelle Obama, the first lady, who will attend the announcement in Washington and has made healthy eating and reducing childhood obesity the centerpiece of her agenda.” Wal-Mart will make the announcement in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C., where it is currently lobbying for permission to build five stores.